Today\'s events inspire tomorrow\'s policy decisions: Top bureaucrats

Hyderabad: Former and current IAS officers while stating that there were several challenges to formulating and implementing public policy, recounted success stories.

The three-day 'Public Policy Dialogues: Bridging Research and Practice,' which began on Wednesday at the Indian School of Business, is a platform to discuss multiple public policy innovations, issues and challenges, collaborations and interactions between policy researchers and practitioners.

Speaking on why public policy design is important, former chief secretary of Odisha Jugal Mohapatra said that design often received much attention. “While drafting a policy, we rarely look at research and evidence,” he said.

He cited the recent example of Rajasthan government starting the urban employment guarantee scheme without evaluating why a similar central scheme-Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana-had failed.

Amarjeet Sinha, former advisor to the Prime Minister, gave three examples to explain how the formulation of public policy could take different routes. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan came about after a court judgment, a lot of deliberations on the expenditure and finally then Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee pushed for it.

The national health mission was formulated because the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had studied health in Geneva, while a central housing scheme was started after a CAG report highlighted multiple issues concerning housing, Sinha said.

Director of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) Katikithala Srinivas spoke on where inspirations for programmes emerge. He said that the smart city project was derived from the earthquake rehabilitation project for rebuilding 14 affected cities in Gujarat. The cities were not just rebuilt but had also progressed economically and socially.

“A lot of inspiration for programmes comes from social movements. For example, a programme started in Gujarat’s Dhrangadhra to reduce female infanticide in a particular community was eventually adopted into a national programme,” he added.

Srinivas said development could happen in many ways and the key was to identify the right soft entry spot. He revealed that prior to building the Statue of Unity as a tribute to Sardar Patel, the authorities had debated on the best way to pay him a tribute which would also spur growth. After its inauguration, there have been investments to the tune of $2.5-3 billion around it, thus transforming the area.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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